On Friday morning, within minutes of the Supreme Court announcing the decision to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the worldwide web exploded. President Obama immediately engaged in the dialogue and later in the day the White House was beautifully illuminated with colors of the rainbow. A bevy of photographs, movies and hashtags came into play. The one that attained the most street cred was #lovewins. President Obama used it, Hillary Clinton used it, Gandalf used it and I read somewhere that even J.K. Rowling used it. Twitter reported 20,000 Tweets per Minute. By day's end, #lovewins was tweeted more than five million times. The beautiful hashtag reminds me of the line from the film Love Actually: "If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." The above photograph I borrowed from Dean Sheremet. I met Dean at a New Year's party at my sister's apartment in the Big Apple half a year ago. Within minutes of meeting him, Matthew and I were by his side for most of the night. He is a remarkable, creative chef with a superb sense of humor to boot. Do yourself a favor and follow him; you will be inspired. Dean also has a cookbook coming out soon. #boom

In other significantly less important news, I am fit to be tied. This is South African talk for maddened state. Yesterday morning, after enjoying lattes in the sunshine from Caribou Coffee we hit up the grocery store. We had made a big trip to the Kings Drive Farmers Market the day before and were simply needing goodies for lunch. A cause of the magnificent weather, I planned to prepare a light lunch of collard wraps. I didn't want to spoil our supper appetites. Wraps are a go-to meal in our house and we have preparation down to a science. Simply sauté garlic, ginger, chillies, your meat of choice, oil (sesame, peanut and olive oil all work), fresh herbs and add whatever else wets your whistle. Yesterday's hodgepodge mash included zucchini, carrots and shitake mushrooms. And so we procured our items and headed home for the usual Sunday routine of house cleaning, the washing (how two people generate so much laundry is beyond me), mowing, raking, blowing and the likes.

Once our ducks were in a row for the work week, we spent a comfortable chunk of the late morning and early afternoon on our front porch, soaking in the cooler temperatures, chatting with passersby and partaking in some good old fashioned Sunday Funday. Around 2 or so, I went into the kitchen to begin meal prep. Upon serving, Matthew said that it didn't taste right and that something was off. Impossible I said, have another bite. No dice. Turns out, the meat I had bought that very morning was not in order. I dumped the entire meal in a Ziploc bag and together with the empty container of corrupted meat marched right back to the shop. Despite maintaining a polite albeit diplomatic stance, my situation was not addressed as I would have were I running a store that services the neighborhood but c'est la vie. My hat is  however off to the young lady who refunded everything that went into the recipe and told me to replace the spoiled goods on them. Not the end of the world but irritating nonetheless. When I shop for food I hope and expect to be seeing an assortment comprising the best of the best. There is so much competition these days, passion and pride always win. We returned home famished and flummoxed. It will be a long time before I eat ground turkey again. We were an inch away from throwing in the towel and heading to Selwyn Pub for their delectable pizza but decided to stay put. I like to have some modicum of restraint in my diet on Sundays. Instead, we had a very early supper of grilled hanger steak, roasted okra, grilled corn and black beans. Sometimes we all have to improvise and go to bed hungry.

Fraught bananas aside, we had a brilliant weekend. We have begun a routine of exploring uptown and its surrounding neighborhoods on a Friday night. This past Friday took us to Plaza Midwood. We toasted our weekend with fried okra and libations at The Workman's Friend. At 6.30 the space was buzzing. We look forward to returning as I am always keen on a menu that offers shepherd's pie. They also have a fantastic back porch, which looks so inviting. From here, we met a girlfriend of mine at Pint Central. She was there with other friends including a lovely lady who ensured that we had an outstanding evening the weekend before at Growler's Pourhouse in NODA. Another outstanding spot worth checking out. The world is indeed small in the Queen City. Pint Central was the jam and their food was spectacular. We sat outside and marveled as the temperatures dropped with a spectacular  thunderstorm. As lightening clapped, the crowd cheered for the women's soccer and our evening rambled on. The food was superb. We shared some small plates including mini burgers with horseradish aioli and bacon jam, pork belly with kimchi (Matthew's recent favorite) and Mexican street tacos. The comprehensive beer list aside, I plan to return for the food and soon. Sometime around who knows when, we called Uber to carry us home and just happened upon one of Charlotte's renowned street art murals #elbarto. Carry on Despicable D.

Saturday morning we were up well before Seventh Street Market opens and decided to return to Plaza Midwood. The streets were quiet aside from a line of patient folks waiting outside of a sneaker shop presumably waiting to procure the newest and best in fresh kicks. We grabbed two cups of Joe at Central Coffee Company before heading down the street to Nova's Bakery. If you are in need of a serious selection of breads, this is your place. Started by a Serbian family many moons ago, they now call Charlotte home. We picked up a spinach scone that we enjoyed on a table outside and it was just sublime. After our impromptu breakfast, we hit up the Farmer's Market and tackled a slew of other errands. We arrived home around lunchtime and I served gazpacho that I had made the day before. I will put the recipe on the blog this week. The perfect meal for hot weather. I set up a bar of grilled asparagus, roasted corn, chopped white cucumbers, diced avocado and hot sauces and we went to town. After lunch, we headed to a neighborhood favorite new to us, Old Mecklenburg Brewery for a couple of Steins of beer. We were again caught in a gully gusher of a storm but luckily were sheltered a cause of their massive umbrellas. Another fantastic weekend in the books. Where do they go?

Three Cup Chicken
Adapted from NYT Cooking


4 TBS sesame oil
3 inch piece of ginger - peeled and chopped
6 large cloves of garlic - chopped
4 green onions - chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 lbs chicken thighs - boneless and chopped into chunks
1 TBS brown sugar
1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup of light soy sauce or Tamari
2 cups of fresh basil or thai basil leaves
1 handful of snow peas
1 cup of broccoli florets

Let's Tango

1. Heat your vessel over high heat and add 2 TBS sesame oil. When the oil begins to glisten, add your ginger, garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes, stirring for two minutes. Remember, the trick to stir fries is to continuously stir!

2. Scrape your goodies to the side of the pan and add your chicken. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until cooked. Remove chicken from the pan, add another TBS sesame oil and now throw on your vegetables. I used snow peas and broccoli florets but whatever wets your whistle here. I let this cook for around 7 minutes too. I then return the chicken to the mound.

3. Now add your sugar, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Bring the medley to a boil and lower to simmer for 15 minutes. Once the timer pings, transfer your goodies to a large serving bowl and stir in the 2 cups of basil. You can serve this with rice or cauliflower rice. We enjoyed ours in shallow bowls as is.

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